Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Kenya Parliament to Conclude Vetting Cabinet Nominees

Kenya's parliament plans to conclude reviewing President Uhuru Kenyatta's final list of Cabinet nominees on Monday. Only two nominees are yet to be reviewed by the legislative body.

But a Member of Parliament, Gladys Wanga, said Kenyatta's list of Cabinet nominees did not reflect regional and ethnic balance as enshrined in the constitution.

"We did feel that although gender requirement were met, it was very difficult to accept that regional balance for example was met by the Cabinet. A lot of the nominees came from a few communities where the rest were just plugged in," continued Wanga, "the public did also have a lot of questions around integrity if Cabinet nominees that were passed. So, there was definitely, a weakness in the vetting."

The constitution mandates the legislative body to determine whether Cabinet nominees are qualified to serve in public office.

Kenya has 42 ethnic communities, with the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kalenjin and Luo being the four largest groups respectively. President Kenyatta is a Kikuyu while, deputy president William Ruto is a Kalenjin.

Wanga said the minority in parliament didn't have the numbers to force Kenyatta to ensure his nominees met the entire constitutional requirement. She was, however, hopeful the next list of nominees will not contravene the constitution.

"We made our point that the regional balance was not met, but we are not looking at the list of principal secretaries as they come. And we do hope that they will meet this requirement particularly because we made our point during the vetting of the Cabinet ministers," said Wanga.

The public also expressed outrage after legislators unanimously voted to increase their salaries, 130 times the legal minimum wage.

Civil society groups as well as the Law Society of Kenya petitioned the High Court to prevent the lawmakers from receiving their increased pay.

But some of the members of parliament threatened to cut the pay of the president if they are prevented from receiving the pay increase.

"What we are saying is that can we talk and find a solution because when we say the pay is 57 percent lower than that of the previous parliament. So, I'm looking forward to discussion between the Parliamentary Service Commission and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to resolve this," said Wanga.

She commented after a court ruled last week to block the Parliamentary Service Commission from releasing funds to pay for the lawmakers increased pay.

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